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Historic Rural Town in Illinois Undergoes Ambitious Revitalization Plan

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Lots of renovations

The 2,000-person town of Mt. Sterling in western Illinois is getting a serious facelift thanks to Kiku Obata & Company, a London and St. Louis-based design consultancy. Working closely with the residents of the the city, the Downtown Mt. Sterling Steering Committee, and the Tracy Family Foundation, Kiku Obata has come up with a 12-year plan to revitalize and redevelop the historic business district.

The Long-Range Strategic Plan and Redevelopment Blueprint lays out a detailed strategy for improving the town’s architecture, streetscapes, public spaces, transportation and parking needs, retail and business development, and community programs.

Indeed, Kiku Obata has already renovated the Hagel, one of Mt. Sterling’s oldest buildings now serving as a restaurant, preserved the post office’s facade and signage, implemented a new lighting scheme for the old courthouse, and restored a water tower.

The eight-block downtown district, called Uptown, has seen a decline in recent years as big-box retailers moved a lot of business from town center out to the suburbs, but the blueprint hopes to draw smaller businesses back in. Kiku Obata is also assisting the community in obtaining grants and organizing small initiatives, helping residents find different ways to invest in their town.

With walkable urban development making a comeback, Mt. Sterling’s plan is huge step in the right direction. Take a look at some of the projects below.